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Researchers use human cues to improve computer user-friendliness
Date:3/4/2011

BINGHAMTON, NY Lijun Yin wants computers to understand inputs from humans that go beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse.

"Our research in computer graphics and computer vision tries to make using computers easier," says the Binghamton University computer scientist. "Can we find a more comfortable, intuitive and intelligent way to use the computer? It should feel like you're talking to a friend. This could also help disabled people use computers the way everyone else does."

Yin's team has developed ways to provide information to the computer based on where a user is looking as well as through gestures or speech. One of the basic challenges in this area is "computer vision." That is, how can a simple webcam work more like the human eye? Can camera-captured data understand a real-world object? Can this data be used to "see" the user and "understand" what the user wants to do?

To some extent, that's already possible. Witness one of Yin's graduate students giving a PowerPoint presentation and using only his eyes to highlight content on various slides. When Yin demonstrated this technology for Air Force experts last year, the only hardware he brought was a webcam attached to a laptop computer.

Yin says the next step would be enabling the computer to recognize a user's emotional state. He works with a well-established set of six basic emotions anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise and is experimenting with different ways to allow the computer to distinguish among them. Is there enough data in the way the lines around the eyes change? Could focusing on the user's mouth provide sufficient clues? What happens if the user's face is only partially visible, perhaps turned to one side?

"Computers only understand zeroes and ones," Yin says. "Everything is about patterns. We want to find out how to recognize each emotion using only the most important features."

He's partnering with Binghamton University ps
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Contact: Gail Glover
gglover@binghamton.edu
607-777-2174
Binghamton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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